Unfocused focus groups

Focus groups don’t work because most people don’t say what they really think in social situations.

Especially when we pay them $50 to sit in an over-lit room with a one-way mirror on a wall and an anxious moderator checking her notes.

- One voice can sway the group

- People copy each other

- Discussion changes attitudes

- People won’t express unpopular views

- People change their mind to fit in

- People agree with the majority

Add the observer effect - the scientific principle where subjects modify an aspect of their behavior in response to the fact that they know they are being studied - and focus groups become even more unfocused.

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